Living in the society involves multiple interactions with other people, some short-term and unimportant, others – critical for our life and career. In this blog, we are investigating different aspects of personality, and interpersonal relations with other personalities in various staging: dating, family, workplace, etc.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Why do Arranged Marriages Result in Stronger and Happier Relationship?
Love does not make the world go round; love is what makes the ride
~Shannon L. Alder
We all as social creatures, have a deep and underlying
desire to find that one perfect person to spend the rest of our days with. That
one person when we meet, you feel an uncontrollable desire and an illogical
sense of familiarity with. As if you’ve known that person for a lifetime, or
perhaps lifetimes. Whatever you want to call it, films and TV series alike have
romanticized the phenomenon known as the soulmate.
However, what do we really know about the perfect mate or
the ideal partner? Psychology is finally shedding light on the mystery that
encapsulates so many hearts and minds around the world in an effort to
understand what truly makes two people compatible for a relationship.
The Issue with
Dating sites like OkCupid.com or chemistry.com boast about
their in-depth personality tests and about finding someone with similar answers
to the questions you answer on their tests, can result in finding the perfect
Now this sounds very appealing for many different reasons.
First, naturally you want to be with someone who shares the same values as you
and perhaps even someone who enjoys similar activities like rock climbing.
Secondly, it only seems logical to search for another person that also wants to
raise children and begin a family someday. Lastly, we have such a yearning for
love as social creatures, that we will convince ourselves of just about
anything in order to fill the empty spots in our hearts.
All of these reasons, create quite the compelling case for
compatibility sites —but how well and how long do the relationships that have
similar interests and quirks truly last? Dr. Ted Hudson of the University of Texas
ran a longitudinal study of couples that had been married for years and in his research,
he found out something quite surprising. Dr. Ted Hudson’s explains, “My
research shows that there is no difference in the objective compatibility
between those couples who are unhappy and those who are happy”. Dr. Ted
Hudson went on to say that couples that are feeling content and warmth in their
relationships said that compatibility was not an issue for them. In fact, they
were perfectly ok saying that it was them, who made the relationship work, not
the compatibility of their personalities.
But when the unhappy couples were asked what they thought
about compatibility, they all answered by saying that compatibility is
extremely important to a marriage. And sadly, that they didn’t think they were
compatible with their significant other. Which Dr. Ted Hudson explained that
when the unhappy couples said, “We’re incompatible” they were truly meaning, “We
don’t get along very well”. That is where the issue arises with compatibility;
everyone who is unhappy naturally blames it on the facade of compatibility.
They fail to realize and comprehend that a successful relationship does not
hinge its posterity on how alike you are —instead it hangs on by the sheer will
power and want to stay in a relationship.
Why Arranged Marriages
Lead to Love, Satisfaction, and Commitment?
As observed in arranged marriages, where they tend to last
longer and tend to be happier in their relationships, according to
international happiness surveys. Do these arranged marriages last longer
because they do not have the option of divorce like the one we do in the United
States? Of course, not, it is because they choose to stay committed and are not
looking for “the next best thing” or someone that is more suitable in their
Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, Michael J.
Rosenfeld explains that arranged marriages are not that different from the love
relationships we have in the Western world. Our parents do affect our choice of
spouse. They just do not arrange it. They do, of course, affect it. So do our
siblings. So do our friends. To think of free choice versus arranged is
probably somewhat inaccurate. There is probably a big overlap between the two.
Every supposedly free-choice marriage still, to some extent, requires the
approval of the social network.
Francine Kaye, a British divorce therapist self-styled as
the Divorce Doctor, supports the favorable opinion on the arranged marriages,
if they are done right. “When it is done properly, and both families are aware
what the other’s beliefs and values are, there’s a lot to be said for arranged
marriages” she said. Ms. Kaye, who has been featured on CNN and the BBC, sees
arranged marriages as a good way to ensure similarities between people looking
for relationships. “Compatibility is so important. In the Orthodox Jewish
community the parents carefully look at compatibility- they do their homework
on their characteristics, their goals, and values.” In this capacity, she sees
arranged marriages as not unlike online dating, in that they single out people
whose proclivities are similar in vital relationship areas. “Truly what
is the difference between an arranged marriage and a dating site where you need
to fill in a long form about your preferences?” said Ms. Kaye.
So, the greatest difference between arranged and free-choice
marriages is, probably, lies in the cultural background. Americans value
autonomy more than anything is, they want the freedom to choose who they want
to be with. More often than not, however we are stuck in the perpetual loop of considering,
consciously and unconsciously, someone else when things are not going perfectly
in our own relationship. And this is where the illusion of compatibility comes
into play. In the cultures with arranged marriage, the mainstream approach is
different: this person is given by G-d, is chosen by people who love me and
more experienced, so I should make it work.
Well, the arranged marriage is definitely paving the way to disaster
in some cases as well, especially, when the partner experiences physical and
emotional abuse and avoidance. Not always it is possible to make it work.
However, if the free-choice partners apply the same willingness and energy to
create strong and powerful bonding with the mate, not looking around for
alternative solution at every conflict and crisis, the results are outstanding.
Finding a Mate to
Spend a Lifetime With
So we know that building a relationship with another person
is dependent on you and the other person. It has more or less nothing to do
with compatibility. But if you can’t depend on compatibility exams or
some standard form of testing to find your ideal mate, then how do we do it?
John Gottman, the founder and director of the Relationship Research Institute
in Seattle said that measures of personality are incapable of truly predicting
the length or success of a relationship. John Gottman’s Relationship Research
Institute discovered that couples who focus their energy on building something
meaningful together in their life (e.g., starting a business together like a
magazine,) tend to last the longest. How a couple interacts is the single most
fundamental aspect to creating a successful relationship. Meaning, it is not
who you are or what you do that will prolong or help you find the perfect mate.
It is how you speak to each other, how well you get along, how much dreams you
can envision together.
John Gottman went on to say, if your relationship or
interest supports your life dreams. Your ideal partner will look up to you,
admire you and view you through rose-colored lenses. Now this sounds ideal, but
when you truly reflect on how you have always wanted to be treated —having
someone who genuinely believes in your greatness, is paramount. Do not think it
is all just how we view one another however; a lot of the connection you feel
with another person is emotional. Therefore, you must be capable of responding
to each other when you need something. Or, as John Gottman said, “Does your
partner turn toward you with equal enthusiasm? You need to ask questions and constantly
update your knowledge of one another.”
Final Thoughts on the
If you truly are looking for love and want to find that
person, that you can spend the rest of your life with —then remember, that it
is YOU who creates compatibility. There is no magic formula or perfect
algorithm for making a fruitful relationship with another human being. Yes, you
need to find the other person attractive, look up to them and feel a strong
sense of familiarity with, but those are but one small slice of the pie that
constitutes a healthy and long relationship. So next time, you spot someone who
catches your attention and makes your pupils dilate with interest and
enthusiasm, pay attention to whether or not they can see the dream you
envisioned for your life. If they can share in your delight and can accept you
for who you are today, not for who you can be tomorrow —then you have found